National Geographic : 1929 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE THE END OF THE TRAIL FOR BAREFOOT CLIMBERS The Indian boys who accompanied the author on his ascent of Mount Sangay wore no shoes, and in consequence decided that the edge of the snow field was as far as they cared to go (see text, page 64). for they were ignorant about making trails in snow and the path to follow was far from obvious. Taking the lead, I would tamp the snow with one foot about twelve times, until it became sufficiently solid to bear my weight; then with the other foot I would tamp another spot farther ahead, until it likewise was sufficiently firm for me to stand on. Thus, step by step, very laboriously, very slowly, we ascended. A MARVELOUS, NOISELESS WORLD As we climbed, the snow became softer and deeper. What a strange sensation it was to be in a noiseless world! From time to time, to reassure myself of my own reality, I glanced back at the dark figures of the boys huddled up in their blankets. The muscles in my legs were the first to tire; they were played out, with so much pounding on the snow. I now found it difficult to lift my feet unaided, and be gan to grip my knees with my hands and to use the muscles of my arms in raising them. We were three miles up in the air when a strong easterly wind sprang up and drove every cloud out of the sky. It was a cold blast, one that had a bite in it. For a few moments I stopped to draw breath and look about. We were within 600 feet of our goal, a matter of 15 minutes.